A Couple Things For Couples on Lopez Island, Washington

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this past weekend we ventured to the san juan islands of washington state and i didn’t expect to love it so much! the pacific northwest is a glorious place.

What to do in Lopez Island Washington

here are some maps for a frame of reference because who doesn’t love a good map!? it’s not the easiest place to get to but it’s well worth it.

lopez island is roughly 15 miles long and 4 miles wide with a population just over 2,000 people.lopez island washington

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first, let’s talk logistics. we live in portland, oregon so it was about a 5 hour drive and then a 45 minute ferry ride. you can reserve a ferry and learn more about them here but you will want to board the ferry from anacortes to lopez island. reserving a ferry essentially means they will charge your credit card $10 if you don’t show up otherwise it’s not charged and then you pay the fare once you get there. it’s $42.65 for a standard vehicle + $12.95 per additional passenger.

if you fly into seattle, there is a shuttle that can take you to the anacortes ferry so you’ll be good to go!

being born and raised in the landlocked state of colorado, “ferries” were never even remotely in our vocabulary so it’s still super weird for me to drive onto a boat.

i recommend plenty of snacks and a deck of cards to pass the time while you wait for your ferry to leave!


once you are on the ferry, you leave your car and go check out the snack bar on deck but then decide you are full from eating all the s’mores oreos (have you tried them yet?! they are incredible). then try to find a nice lady to take your photo while you stand on the bow of the ferry with your dreamy spouse.

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington the averys

okay, let’s get into what to do on lopez island, washington as a couple!

1) participate in “the lopez wave”

this was one of our favorite aspects of being on the island because it reminded me of spending time at my grandparents’ cabin on lake panorama, iowa! “the lopez wave” means that when you are driving in a car, everyone that passes you typically gives you a two-finger wave while still holding onto the steering wheel. if you are a local, you may get the full-handed wave. do this back to each person you pass and you will fit right in!

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

2) stay in a yurt or a vacation rental!

we had the unique opportunity to spend one of our nights in a yurt! i quickly googled the definition of a yurt and it’s “a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework, used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia, and Turkey.” i can confirm this. here it is before the roof was put on!


this particular yurt is located on the hill behind our friend nancy’s farm house! you can actually rent out this cute farm house (yurt included) and you will be so very happy! even better, it’s 1/4 of a mile away from lopez village, where most of the restaurants, coffee shops, bakery and grocery store is located! prime spot party people.

nancys house

it took my breath away when we returned after dinner. seriously, rent this place, it was super romantic.

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

the inside is just as cute and it’s pretty warm. this is obviously one level of ‘glamping’ which is like camping but more glamourous. to fall asleep hearing nothing but nature was something i hadn’t experienced in a very long time. no cars, no helicopters (we live downtown), no phone service, no fans, no refrigerator. just nature…and maybe fairies because something sounded like it was running through the forest at 3am (but like a friendly running).

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

3) get a croissant at holly b’s bakery

i am very sad i cannot show you the delicious pastries we ate here (we ate them at hot-dog-eating-contest-speed). my husband had an egg/maple/cheese filled croissant, we had an almond butter twist, raspberry orange scone, hazelnut rugala…just go. it’s the best. it’s so fun to come here as a couple because you get a bite of each other’s pastry (that was part of our marriage vows).

4) go to isabel’s espresso

not only do they use organic coffee but they also have free wifi if you insist on needing it while on the island. such a charming place with a full coffee menu including choices of cow, soy, almond and rice milk! does saying ‘cow milk’ make you feel weird inside? it does to me.

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

5) rent a kayak or bike to explore the island

what better way to explore the in and outs of an island by bike on land or by kayak on the water! let’s all think really hard before we jeopardize our relationship by renting a two-person kayak…make sure you are in a solid place if you do!

6) experience watmough bay

watmough bay is located at the southeast tip of the island and is accessible by car or by bike. you follow a forest path for about 5 minutes and then it spits you out here, to these glorious views. it was very majestic to sit together and watch the clear water lap the pebble beach. there are also some fun rocks to climb on but be careful.

IMG_4869Visiting Lopez Island, WashingtonVisiting Lopez Island, Washington

7) go whale/wildlife watching

since we were on the island to officiate a wedding, the happy couple charted a private whale watching tour for interested people! the orcas were unfortunately being shy and hanging out in canada, but we still had a fantastic time! we saw harbor seals, eagles, sea lions, and other interesting islands as we tried to coax them to become american.

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington Visiting Lopez Island, Washington Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

8) visit the saturday farmer’s market

the lopez island farmer’s market runs from mid-may to mid-september from 10am-2pm every saturday!


an entrepreneur in the making at about 9 years old…$1 to hold his chickens. my husband was very sad that we didn’t have a dollar on us and that they didn’t have a card reader. my friend alison said they look like chicken kittens – brilliant!IMG_4625

9) watch the sunset from the islander

this is a gorgeous setting with decent food, a big deck and a full bar. what’s not to love!? they also have own the hotel/resort across the street should you need lodging. kick back, order a drink and let the calmness of lopez island, washington wash over you both.

Visiting Lopez Island, Washington

have you been to lopez island or other islands part of the san juan islands? what else would you recommend?


  1. Audrey

    July 15, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hahahaha! “But like a friendly running.” Because if you’ve been in the woods you know there’s nothing more terrifying than hearing a frantic running sound 😀 Hahaha!

    I LOVE the topography in that part of the country. So so breathtaking! I’m glad you guys had such a memorable time! Definitely adding this little island to the bucket list!
    Audrey recently posted…The Way We Talk to Kids

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      ha for the reals, audrey! frantic running would have been terrifying…i pretended it was more like a frolic.

      yes you totally need to add it to your bucket list – you will LOVE it there (and there are lots of dogs to play with too) 🙂

  2. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    July 15, 2015 at 9:59 am

    “but like friendly running” bahaha I love when I’m just casually reading your posts and one little line like that makes me burst out laughing

    Staying in a yurt sounds exactly like the type of camping I would like! I love the little lights on the inside, it looks so cozy!!

    Also I loved your maps– one of my bffs used to live on Whidbey Island which according to the map I see is kindaaa near where you guys went! So cool!!

    Oh and I still like that we both took ferries at the same time. TWINS
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…5 Ways to Make Reading More Enjoyable

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      hah YAY! i’m glad i got a chuckle out of you 🙂 i’m glad you’re back in the blogging world yay! the yurt was so so fun, if you ever get the chance definitely stay in one. your bff is so lucky to have lived on whidbey -that’s my mom’s favorite place out here!

      i love that we were twinning on the ferries but on opposite coasts!

  3. Elyse

    July 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Such a breathtaking place! Wow!
    Elyse recently posted…Just Murrayed: Tom & Marley

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      if you’re ever in these neck of the woods -totally make time for it elyse!

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